Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts  book cover
1st Edition

Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts

ISBN 9781138286931
Published November 18, 2016 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

Recent efforts emphasize the roles that privilege and elite education play in shaping affluent youths’ identities. Despite various backgrounds, the common qualities shared among the eight adolescents showcased in this book lead them to form particular understandings of self, others, and the world around them that serve as means for them to negotiate their privilege. These self-understandings are crucial for them to feel more at ease with being privileged, foster a positive sense of self, and reduce the negative feelings associated with their advantages – thus managing expectations for future success.

Offering an intimate and comprehensive view of affluent adolescents’ inner lives and understandings, Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts explores these qualities and provides an important alternative perspective on privilege and how privilege works. The case studies in this volume explore different settings and lived experiences of eight privileged adolescents who, influenced by various sources, actively construct and cultivate their own privilege. Their stories address a wide range of issues relevant to the study of adolescence and the various social class factors that mediate adolescents’ educational experiences and identities.

Table of Contents

1. Making Privilege Visible 2. Meredith: Confidently Traveling with Anna Caron, Jenifer Goldman, Katie Griffin, Connie Jangro, Celeste Lattanzi, and Adele Priestley 3. Herman: A Scripted Life with Cynthia Garvin, Erika Johnson, Ethan Meigs, and Morgan Rublee 4. Kayla: Dribbling Toward the Goal with Adrienne Bowles, Jenifer Goldman, Celeste Lattanzi, Kate O’Callaghan, and Morgan Rublee 5. Marcus: On His Own with Courtney Erskine, Cynthia Garvin, Molly Hodson, Peggy Meyer, and Hannah O’Brien 6. Sarah: Alone in the Crowd with Ian Borthwick, Annie Chen, Kelsey Cromie, Andrew Rhoads, and Hillary Rowse 7. Leo: Uncertain Future, Certain Success with Annie Chen 8. Olive: Creating Her Own Space with Annie Chen 9. Jacob: Dancing Through Life with Kelsey Cromie 10. Negotiating Privilege 11. Transforming Self-Understandings with Kelsey Cromie

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Adam Howard is associate professor of education at Colby College, USA. Prior to teaching at the college level, he was an English teacher at an independent high school. He is co-editor of Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage and author of Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling.

Aimee Polimeno is an undergraduate at Colby College in the graduating class of 2014. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Education. She is a research assistant for Professor Adam Howard in Colby’s Education Department.

Brianne Wheeler is an undergraduate student at Colby College, USA. She is majoring in Psychology with minors in Administrative Science and Human Development. She is a research assistant for Professor Adam Howard in Colby’s Education Department.


"Overall, the book uncovers some important findings in relation to identity construction and privileged youth. The collaborative, student- involved research is also to be applauded." - Elizabeth Silva, Teachers College Record, January 2015

"Privilege does not always know itself as such. A sense of place, social membership and entitlement obscure what it means for those who have no such defenses. Even the most sympathetic and insightful perspective that social science can create is obscured by what the social scientist or student cannot see, their own place in the hierarchy. The following chapters try valiantly to look past that obscurity, to look at what is so hard to examine, their own place in the larger world."From the Foreword by Dorothy Allison, Award-Winning Writer, Scholar, and Activist